Summary: It is essential that we prepare ourselves for evangelization by studying the teachings of the Church.

Monday June 21 2001

St Aloysius Gonzaga

You Will Be My Witnesses

The people of Israel were called out of the desert and planted in the Holy Land to be a light to the nations. It was their vocation to draw pagans to true worship of the true God. Instead, they imitated the pagan worship of false gods, fertility gods, gods of war, the gods of the land. So they lost their land and home and were dispersed into the nations of the earth.

Like the Israelites, Catholics were called by God to New Spain, to Téjas, to draw the indigenous people to Christ and the Church. Archbishop Gomez quoted Fr. Margil de Jesus, the Franciscan founder of our local church, who said, “San Antonio will be. . .the heart from which we will go out to establish additional missions.” The vision is to make San Antonio a new heart from which the new evangelization of our nation can go out. All of us are called to be evangelists, no matter what our role in the Church. We proclaim the God who has come to befriend us, the God who has come to save us from our sins and lead us to eternal life. (15) We must ask ourselves, How is my work leading men and women to Jesus Christ?

To make this vision real, our former Archbishop challenged pastors and parish leaders “to become even more committed to equipping parishioners to defend their faith and to give account for the hope that is in them. Our people must know their faith well, including the social teachings of the Church, and they must know the urgency of the duty to evangelize. He suggest that individuals and families read a little of the Compendium to the Catechism each day, and to “cultivate an interior life.” Nemo dat quod non habet–nobody can give what he doesn’t have. We need to study anew the important documents of the new evangelization from the recent popes. We need to take into our minds and hearts the words of Paul VI: Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. The Church exists to evangelize.

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